When most people think of a headshot, they probably picture a person wearing a shirt and tie standing in front of a white backdrop with a smile that says, “I mean business”. A formal headshot with a neutral background is the go-to choice for executives, lawyers and those in traditionally conservative industries. A well-composed, professional corporate headshot suggests reliability and trustworthiness, and isn’t intended to highlight the personality of the subject.
But, let’s be honest, this isn’t for everyone. Don’t get us wrong, this is a great (out)fit for some, but not everyone wears a shirt and tie to work. Your headshot should reflect your personality, your style, and your brand. And since we’re on the topic, let’s talk clothing. We typically recommend a business casual look for a professional, yet approachable, look for your headshot. What’s important is that you feel comfortable and confident in whatever you’re wearing. That said, we do recommend you avoid overly bright colors and busy patterns that may not render well on screen or that distract focus from your face.
Next, let’s talk about location. Yes, a nice studio backdrop (usually white) works great for many. It’s clean and you’ll have no issue placing the image in most places without it looking out of place. Again, this is the most common choice for corporate headshots, but there are other options that can be used to reveal a little about the personality of the subject and the overall company culture.
Here are just a few:
The “On-the-Job” Headshot
This works especially well if you have a brick-and-mortar location to feature as a backdrop, even if it’s out of focus. It’s also useful when the subject can be pictured with the “tools of the trade,” for professions like architect or chef. Adding a prop that reflects a hobby or personal interest, or even just a cup of coffee, says “I’m more than just my job,” and can create a personal connection with the viewer.
The “Candid” Headshot
A photo that appears to have been taken in a spontaneous moment conveys authenticity and a down-to-earth, unpretentious attitude. This style of headshot suggests that the subject is easy to work with, and is suitable for creative professionals, or companies with an open-minded and innovative culture.
The Outdoor Enthusiast
Choosing an outdoor backdrop for a headshot, whether a park or a city street, projects energy and a spirit of adventure. A headshot taken outside suggests that the subject is open-minded and not confined by corporate walls. This option works well for people in creative fields or in businesses with a relaxed company culture and laid-back vibe.
A headshot with a simple uncluttered background focuses the attention solely on the individual. This can reflect a no-nonsense approach and a seriousness of purpose. A minimalist headshot projects focus, efficiency, and a style of direct communication.
The Smiling Headshot
This can be tricky to capture in a way that looks natural, but a genuine smile says, “I’m easy to work with,” and projects positivity. It conveys approachability and friendliness. A smile can soften a more formal headshot or add warmth to a candid one.
The Unsmiling Headshot
While the smiling headshot suggests approachability, the unsmiling headshot doesn’t necessarily suggest aloofness. A subtle choice well-suited for industries like law or finance, the unsmiling headshot can convey professionalism, confidence, and seriousness of purpose.
The “Looking Off-Camera” Headshot
A person captured gazing off camera conveys a sense of vision or thoughtfulness. It can make the subject appear forward-thinking and focused on the future. It’s a pose that works well for entrepreneurs and those who want to project a sense of leadership and ambition.
Your headshot is your visual business card. Think about the image you want to present to the world. It should represent who you are, the culture of your company, and the vibe you want to project. A great headshot is a powerful tool for making connections, attracting clients, and building your personal brand.
Looking for an update on your visual business card? Let’s talk!